Monday, 4 July 2022

Insects sparse but of some interest

A steady west wind and overcast for most of the day, a few sunny spells in the afternoon.

South Shore (MD)
Mediterranean gulls 13 - A check of the beach next to wooden jetty as the tide covered it found only 3 feeding and three resting adults plus a couple of 2nd calendar year. At least 4 more adult and a 2cy between outflows - Red Nab not checked.
Rock Pipits 4 - 2 each Red Nab and Lighthouse 
Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1 resting on pebbles close to were it was on Friday

Middleton Nature Reserve
Grey Heron 1
Mute Swan pair plus 7 cygnets 
Moorhen 3 adult
Little grebe 2 adult 3 large juvenile 
Mallard 6 male
This was odd. This solo chick swam the full length of the ""no swimming" pond.
Not a Mallard chick, and the only other birds on the pond were a Little Grebe and a couple of Moorhen, clearly the chick didn't belong to them. I suspected Gadwall, but no sign of Mum. The chick then swam all the way back to the other bank. Then Mum flew in and landed in the middle of the pond and immediately began soft quacking to attract the chick. In this clip, you can just make out the chick top right of the frame.
She eventually spotted it and flew over, seems there were two chicks (there is always an adventurous one!). The only reason I can think of for her to leave her chicks alone would be if she has some unhatched eggs and her instincts were torn between brooding eggs and tending chicks (pure speculation of course (MD)). Hopefully she will concentrate on tending her chicks now.

Stock Dove 2 minimum - these have gone from being scarce to be seen on every visit. Two seen flying together plus three occasions a single bird was flushed.
A slightly better Stock Dove picture 

Just five species of warbler seen/heard: Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser and Common Whitethroat.

Once again numbers of butterflies were low, but a good variety. In order of abundance:
Meadow Brown
Large Skipper
Small Skipper
Gatekeeper 3
Fresh Gatekeeper 

Speckled Wood 3
Red Admiral 1
Comma 1
Comma - presumably first of this year's generation 
Another hairy caterpillar choosing to rest on a trackway.
This looks to be a Ruby Tiger, but I would be happy to be corrected (MD)

Dragonflies were even sparser, and mainly away from the ponds
Common Darter 3
Emperor 2
Black-Tailed Skimmer 2 (male and female)
Female Black-tailed Skimmer
Broad-bodied Chaser 1 male
Worn looking male Broad-bodied Chaser

I think this Damselfly is one of the many incarnations of a female Blue-tailed Damselfly. It appears to be eating a maggot.
Damselfly eating a "maggot"

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